Spain in 2012 kept its world leadership in organ transplants with 4,211 procedures, the director of the National Transplants Organization, or ONT, said Tuesday.

Rafael Matesanz offered the figures at a press conference in Madrid, where he stressed how important it was that Spain's economic crisis did not significantly affect transplant operations, unlike the case in Greece and Portugal.

In 2012 there was a "very slight" decline compared with 2011 in the number of both donors and transplant procedures, according to the ONT director, who said the organization is seeking "solutions" for those regions and hospitals where the decreases occurred.

At the same time he said that, for 21 years, Spain has continued uninterruptedly occupying world leadership in organ transplants, with a total of 86,180 performed.

The secretary general of health, Pilar Farjas, reported last year a rate of 34.8 donors per million in the population.

"Altruism, solidarity and fairness" are for Farjas the ethical principles that must be maintained in the Spanish transplant model.

Of the 4,211 transplants performed last year, there were 2,551 kidneys, 1,084 livers, 247 hearts, 238 lungs, 83 pancreases and 8 parts of the intestines. EFE